Islamabad [Pakistan], November 17 (ANI): The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has issued a show-cause notice to the former chief judge of the apex court of Gilgit-Baltistan who claimed that former chief justice of Pakistan Saqib Nisar had influenced the judicial proceedings to prolong the detention of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz following their conviction in the Avenfield apartments reference.
Along with former chief judge of the apex court of Gilgit-Baltistan Rana Mohammad Shamim, editor-in-chief of Jang Group Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, The News International editor Aamir Ghouri and senior journalist Ansar Abbasi were also issued show-cause notices, reported Dawn.
In the affidavit, the GB's ex-chief judge stated that then CJP Saqib Nisar had made a call to Justice Aamir Farooq of the IHC and asked him not to grant bail to Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz before the general elections in 2018.
IHC Chief Justice Athar Minallah directed the above-mentioned respondents to submit their replies by November 26 -- the next date of hearing.
Chief Justice Minallah asked Abbasi whether he had contacted the IHC registrar before filing the news report and whether verification of contents of the purported affidavit was made in accordance with the editorial policy and journalistic norms, reported Dawn.
Abbasi responded that confirmation of the affidavit was sought from its executor i.e. Rana Shamim, adding that he was only a "messenger" and had not violated any journalistic norm.
Justice Minallah made it clear that he would not hesitate to proceed against former CJP Nisar if the above-mentioned respondents bring any iota of evidence to substantiate the allegations, reported Dawn.
The court noted that Rana Mohammad Shamim was appointed chief judge of the Supreme Appellate Court of Gilgit-Baltistan in 2015. It is an admitted position that he asserts to have overheard the conversation of former CJP Mian Saqib Nisar in July 2018.
However, Justice Minallah observed that Ansar Abbasi did not inquire from Justice Shamim regarding his silence for almost four years, reported Dawn.
"The allegations made in the purported affidavit definitely amounted to grave misconduct. It was his (Shamim) duty to have immediately reported the matter to the Supreme Judicial Council because he himself was holding a responsible judicial office," the court order said.
"There is also no explanation of the timing of releasing the purported affidavit to a reputable newspaper because the matter related to pending proceedings and the appeals were fixed for hearing on November 17, 2021.
"The inaction on part of Rana Mohammad Shamim and his subsequent conduct were unbecoming of a judicial officer and, prima facie, raises questions regarding his bona fides and integrity. The aforementioned crucial factors were not verified by Ansar Abbasi, Aamir Ghouri, Editor, and Mir Shakeel-ur-Rehman, Editor-in-Chief," the order stated.
He observed that the news report and the purported affidavit had cast scandalous aspersions on the integrity, independence and impartiality of the high court and its judges and "the alleged contemnors have attempted to undermine public confidence in the impartiality and independence of this court and its honourable judges", reported Dawn. (ANI)